A MICROBREWERY is toasting a successful first with plans for expansion.

Since opening in late 2012, Sonnet 43 Brew House, at Coxhoe, County Durham, has produced 1, 500 barrels of craft beer and thousands of bottles for sale in pubs and online.

Its core beers – Steam Beer, India Pale Ale, Brown Ale, American Pale Ale, Blonde Beer and Bourbon Milk Stout – have been sold in more than 200 pubs across the North-East and recently expanded into Yorkshire, with regular deliveries being made in York, Harrogate and Leeds.

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The site’s brewing capacity will be expanded later this year, allowing for more deliveries outside Northern England, and the introduction of craft kegging and a visitor’s centre offering workshops and tours.

Sonnet 43’s founder, North-East restaurateur Mark Hird, has also invested in three brewery taps – The Lambton Worm, Chester-le- Street, The White Lead, Hebburn, and The Clarence Villa, Coxhoe – and hopes to launch more during 2014

He said: “It has been a landmark first year for Sonnet 43 and we’re delighted that our beers have been well received by publicans and their customers across the North East and Yorkshire.

“We have big plans for 2014, including the launch of more brewery taps and the expansion of the brewery itself, which we hope will allow more people to enjoy our award-winning range.”

Sonnet 43, which was named after the well-known verse by Elizabeth Barratt Browning who was born and raised at nearby Coxhoe Hall, won several awards in 2013, including Great Taste Awards for its American Pale Ale and Bourbon Milk Stout.